How to study Ethics paper for GS Mains 2018?

How to study Ethics Paper for GS Mains 2018?

In this article, we will read how and from where we study for ethics paper for GS Mains 2018 – How to study Ethics Paper for GS Mains 2018. Ethics GS Paper IV has been added as a mandatory subject in 2013 (of 250 marks). Ever since then, there has been dilemma regarding the type of questions and the best possible way to score good marks. One good thing is that Ethics is not a conventional area, that could be taught in schools/colleges, so everyone is new to it. At the same time, as popularly known, this subject doesn’t require ‘what appeals to your common sense’, but theoretical basis of arguments as well.

How to study Ethics paper for GS Mains 2018?Myths regarding Ethics GS Paper IV

  • This paper is more of a common – sense and you do not theory for it. 
  • There’s no use of studying anything for this;
  • This paper is more general and amorphous.
  • There is no material available for this subject.

How to study Ethics paper for GS Mains 2018?

Scoring techniques in Ethics GS Paper IV 

In 2013, when the paper was first time introduced, the questions were straightforward and easy. (Click here for UPSC Mains 2013 Paper) Because there was dearth of material and guidance, the marking also was a little lenient. This was the pattern till 2015. For three years, paper was somewhat straightforward and easy. 2016 onwards,  the exam paper pattern changed. It became more application based, and focus also shifted to Applied Ethics. New theorists, comparing two theorists, application of theories to present scenario, etc. became more evident. Now this needs a strong conceptual foundation and its application. If handled properly, this paper could fetch you high scores.

Ethics as a subject has its root in philosophy, public administration, sociology, and psychology. But UPSC does not expect the candidates to use too much of technicality in their writings. This paper is part of General Studies, and it should be ethics answer.  

How to study Ethics paper for GS Mains 2018?

Areas to be studied in Ethics – GS Paper IV

  • Ethics and Human Interface: Various theories, theorists and the application of their theories – this covers the basics of ethics, human values and lessons learnt from the life of great leaders;
  • Aptitude: To check the level of aptitude of a candidate. Remember, in ethics paper, conclusion isn’t as much important as the argument showing how you reached that conclusion;
  • Emotional Intelligence: To study mental quality. IQ will also be read;
  • Attitude: Attitude should be read in relation with thought and behaviour;
  • Contribution of moral thinkers and philosophers: Their theories and the relations of their theories in today’s scenario;
  • Ethics in Public Administration: Covers areas like corporate governance, rules of law, laws, conflicts, public and private administration, etc.;
  • Probity in Governance: Corruption – causes and steps taken for prevention, RTI, code of conduct, etc.

What to study for Ethics Mains GS Paper IV ?

With the changing pattern of this paper, you must have realised by now that conventional rote learning approach isn’t going to work here. Likewise, a casual approach also will be unable to fetch marks. There is a very high probability that those who cleared the exam also might not be able to write a good ethics answer and clear again. Therefore, trying to attempt the paper directly at the exam hall through your commencement sense might not turn beneficial for you. Extensive research and preparation is required for this paper. Good writing skills are must. Therefore, make sure that you are writing answer and getting it checked too.

Basic reading material/books – 

  1. Ethics for Dummies 
  2. Ethics in Public Administration 
  3. Any good book on social psychology – chapter on Attitude – political, social, emotional; 
  4. ARC report – Ethics and Governance


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